For this edition of Handmade Faves I wanted to share a few more of the artists I’ve personally purchased from and continue to rely on for quality handmade goods and excellent customer service. Because discovering these gems can be somewhat of a challenge in the vastness of the online world, I’ve included some of the ways I’ve found them as well. I’m hopeful that you’ll be inspired to search out those artists who will become your own “go-to” sources for handmade work.
I may be the last person on the planet still writing paper checks, but I have several checkbooks that were always getting mixed up. So I went hunting for checkbook covers but just couldn’t find anything that blew me away. Weeks went by until EtsyPatrons started testing a project we were working on called Personal Shopper… the idea was that we would volunteer to help stumped shoppers find the perfect handmade holiday gifts. In the process, my friend Vintage Embellishment found the work of Get Felt Up and I promptly purchased two fun, eye catching covers. Personal Shopper didn’t make it, but my checkbooks have never looked better! Get Felt Up has since sold hundreds of pieces and was featured on Try Handmade and the front page of etsy but I still smile every time I write a check.
I’ve really been enjoying the way candles add ambiance to a room lately, so I’ve been burning through quite a few of them. My candles are purchased directly from The Beekeeper, otherwise known as Peace Blossom Candles. I looked long and hard before I settled on these, but the amazing shapes and explanation of bees wax in the Shop Policies section convinced me to give them a try. You’d think Oregon Organic Handmade Pure Beeswax Candles would be outrageously expensive, but they’re really not. I buy them in bulk to save on shipping, and several beeswax candles have found their way home with guests as well. They are amazingly detailed, smell divine, burn well, and make a great handmade story. I get the tiny ones so I can start fresh with each burn.
One of the first posts I saw and commented on at Try Handmade featured the handmade felt cases of hine. I quickly discovered that they are never in stock and she doesn’t take orders. While I was digesting that news, she went on vacation for something like two months. I finally resorted to setting up a shop feed so I’d know when new products were added, and so I eventually managed to snag the coolest camera case ever. It was kind of on the expensive side, but it fits my Cybershot like a glove and I’d rather lose the camera than the case. In short, it rocks.
Just prior to a recent event at my house I realized my drinking glasses were a mismatched embarrassment. I went looking and settled on a set of six hand blown glasses by TandemGlass. This took a lot of looking, a few convos back and forth, and finally a leap of faith, due mainly to the fact that the actual glasses you receive are not the ones in the photo and they are not inexpensive pieces. DH was skeptical but I pulled the trigger and was rewarded with some absolutely fabulous pieces of hand blown glass that were the hit of the event. The thing to remember about this kind of purchase is that if you have questions, just ask. Most artists are more that happy to discuss their work and their responses can help you choose when a listing alone isn’t quite enough.
I’m not normally much of an impulse buyer, but I stumbled upon this piece by dyedianadye on the front page of 1000Markets and had to have it. A few convos back and forth to discuss sizing and such and I made the purchase. It arrived quickly, gorgeously wrapped, and ready to be thrown on for a summer barbeque that night, to rave reviews. You’d think it would be hard to buy clothing without trying it on, but if you know your measurements, the measurements of the garment, and are working with a patient artist, you can be confident that it will fit and that you’ll be wearing a unique piece of art.
If you’ve got some time and want to browse great handmade work, there are numerous spots on the web that will make you wish you had deeper pockets. Try Handmade is, of course, a given (bookmark now if you haven’t already!). The front page of Etsy is the source of much discussion as to their choices, but it changes often and is great for a quick handmade fix every now and then. ByHandGallery (my own Front Page On Steroids) changes often, includes work from all of the most popular venues, and hosts small galleries of handmade work chosen by my friend LuminaJewelry, who has an amazing eye for gorgeous collections.
So which shops or artists do you go back to time and time again? How do you find great work? Post below and fill us in on your own personal handmade finds!